AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC in must-win situation vs Bashundhara Kings

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Male (Maldives), Aug 20 (IANS) Bengaluru FC face a tough task when they take on 2021 Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings in their second match of the AFC Cup Group D South Zone at the National Football Stadium here on Saturday.

Bengaluru FC, led by Sunil Chhetri, suffered a 2-0 defeat in their first match against fellow Indian Super League (ISL) side ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) on Wednesday (August 18) and they will now be under pressure to win against the Kings and stay in the hunt for the next round. The Bangladeshi club also beat Maldives’ Maziya Sports & Recreation 2-0 on August 18.

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Bengaluru FC looked off-colour against ATKMB and barring a couple of moments they were no match for Antonio Lopez Habas’ men. Things particularly looked out of order in defence and up front. They gave away easy goals to Roy Krishna and Subhasish Bose.

Yrondu Musavu-King, Sarthak Golui and Alan Costa need to pick themselves up at the back after ordinary outings against ATK Mohun Bagan, and prior to that against Maldives’ Club Eagles in their play-off tie.

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Chhetri didn’t have a good game on August 18 and his being out of form did affect the team’s performance in a big way. Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva had a better game than the Bengaluru FC skipper but he could have done better.

Bashundhara Kings are a solid team and their head coach Oscar Bruzon knows a thing or two about ISL teams. Bruzon has coached in India in the past — he worked as assistant coach for Mumbai City FC and as head coach for Sporting Clube de Goa. The Bangladeshi club has some top names in their ranks like forward Raul Beccera and winger Robinho, who scored against Maziya Sports & Recreation.

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The winner of the group will qualify for the inter-zone semi-final and Bengaluru FC will have to win this game to stay in the hunt. A defeat will shut the door for them. That’s something head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli wouldn’t want to experience so early in his tenure at Bengaluru FC.

However, even a win against Bashundhara Kings won’t help their cause if ATK Mohun Bagan beat Maziya Sports & Recreation in the second game of the day. With the win against the Maldivian club, ATKMB will reach six points in two games and having beaten Bengaluru FC in their first match, they are sure to finish above Pezzaiuoli’s men in the group, meaning exit for the 2016 AFC Cup finalists.

So, not only will Bengaluru FC have to win against Bashundhara Kings, they will also have to pray that ATKMB don’t win against Maziya Sports & Recreation in the second game on Saturday.

Bengaluru FC squad: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Sharon Padattil, Lara Sharma, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang, Ajith Kumar, Ashique Kuruniyan, Parag Srivas, Yrondu Musavu-King, Alan Costa, Sarthak Golui, Biswa Darjee, Suresh Wangjam, Jayesh Rane, Danish Farooq, Rohit Kumar, Muhammad Inayath, Namgyal Bhutia, Ajay Chhetri, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Cleiton Silva, Roshan Singh Naorem, Siva Sakthi, Akashdeep Singh, Bidyashagar Singh, Leon Augustine, Harmanpreet Singh.

–IANS

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